Clean Eating

Eggplant Grain “Bowls”

F V GF SERVES 4. HANDS-ON TIME: 25 MINUTES. TOTAL TIME: 55 MINUTES.

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This power combinatio­n of creamy chickpeas, nutty quinoa, nutrientde­nse veggies and flavorful herbs makes for a delicious vegetarian meal that is also an excellent source of important fiber. This key nutrient for liver health has been associated with lower accumulati­on of fat and sugar stored in the liver and better blood glucose management. Garnish with additional parsley and basil for added color.

2 large eggplants 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided ½ tsp sea salt, divided ¼ tsp ground black pepper 1 small onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp unsalted tomato paste ½ tsp ground cumin 1 tsp dried oregano ¼ cup water ⅓ cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1½ cups cooked quinoa ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil ⅛ –¼ tsp red pepper flakes, optional 2 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled pomegranat­e seeds, for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF; line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out eggplant flesh, leaving about ½ inch flesh in bottom and sides of eggplant skins. Brush eggplant skins inside and out with one-half of oil; season insides with one-half of salt and all of pepper. Place on the baking sheet, cut sides up, and roast until just tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Finely chop eggplant flesh and set aside. In a large skillet on medium, heat remaining one-half of oil. Add onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cumin; sauté until warmed through and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add eggplant flesh and oregano; season with remaining one-half of salt. Pour in water and cook, scraping up any browned bits in skillet. Sauté until water has evaporated and vegetables are very tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas, quinoa, parsley and basil. Stir in pepper flakes (if using).

3. Divide quinoa mixture among eggplant skins. Divide goat cheese among tops. Bake until warmed through and cheese has softened, 10 to 15 minutes longer. (Broil for a minute to lightly brown the cheese, if you like.) Garnish with pomegranat­e seeds and additional herbs, if desired.

PER SERVING (¼ of recipe): Calories: 434, Total Fat: 19 g, Sat. Fat: 4 g, Monounsatu­rated Fat: 10 g, Polyunsatu­rated Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 57 g, Fiber: 17 g, Sugars: 16 g, Protein: 15 g, Sodium: 490 mg, Cholestero­l: 7 mg

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